Who Will Care for Our Special-Needs Children When We Are Gone? The God Who Goes before Us.

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)

I cannot imagine what it was like for Joshua to fill Moses’ sandals and take the Israelites into the Promised Land. The stress of seeing all the struggles and failures of your own people and then knowing that you are now in charge of leading them into a difficult future of even greater struggles, must have been overwhelming.

I sometimes wonder if Moses might have been silently pleased with God’s judgment on him to not enter the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:2) and secretly looked forward to his appointed death.

“Joshua, you shall go with this people…I’m going to rest my weary bones. You take them into the Promised Land of Canaan…I’m going to the eternal Promised Land of Christ.”

I’ve been there before—wondering if my own death would be sweeter than the unforeseen trials of raising a severely disabled son into his adult life, into the future unknown. I can relate to the Apostle Paul when he contemplated: “To die is gain."

And then there is that looming shadow of the unknown future where every parent’s faith meets the testing ground of unfamiliar darkness. What if something happens to me (and/or my spouse)? Who will care for our child then? Who will provide? Who will ensure he is loved and not neglected? Who will be there?


This one verse in Deuteronomy has provided years of comfort and proven assurance for our family:

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)

When we place our faith in the future grace of God through the finished work of Jesus, we are placing our faith in an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Father. He is not lacking in His love or care—past, present or future.

Plainly speaking, He is all knowing, all powerful and all present. He is not only near you; He also goes before you into your unknown future. At no time will He ever leave you. In no circumstance will He ever forsake you or fail you. There is confidence to be found in His character. There is assurance in His attributes.

Yes, “to die is gain”. Freedom from doubt, pain, sin, sadness and disability in the presence of Jesus is always of eternal gain in this dark and hurting world. And like Moses and Paul, eventually every Christian will gain this freedom. But “to live is Christ!” (Philippians 1:21) Meaning the longer we live--the fuller we live--the more we get to see the miracles of Jesus unfold in our lives and the more we get to serve Him, showing others His glory and grace.

And when we grow old or when we die, when we can no longer care for the child we have cared for all these years, it is the Lord who will provide whatever your child may need. He loves your child more than you could ever love them. And He loves you more than you will ever be able to comprehend. He has great plans for you and your child, now and in the future. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

It is the Lord who “will be with you” during the difficult times, the times you don’t think you can go on, the times you want to give up and check out, the times of desperation and despondency and depression. He will be there.

And it is the Lord who “goes before you” into the future to provide hope, love and care for you, your child and your family. I have been the recipient of this gospel saturated provision for over 20 years now. My son is grown, he is cared for, and we rest assured in the future grace of the ever-present God.

So Moses got to rest his weary bones. And Joshua got to rest his faith in the God who went on ahead, and yet traveled right beside him at the same time. He got to see God make a way where there was no way. He got to see God do amazing things. (Joshua 3:5)

And so will you...

...as you rest in this:

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)